Samurai Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...
Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...
The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of
Nature And Her Lesson
Nature offers us nectar and ambrosia every day, and everywher...
The Ten Pictures Of The Cowherd
[FN#275] The pictures were drawn by Kwoh Ngan (Kaku-an), a...
To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zaz...
Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of...
Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...
The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...
Change As Seen By Zen
Zen, like Hinayanism, does not deny the doctrine of Transienc...
Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...
The Sermon Of The Inanimate
The Scripture of Zen is written with facts simple and familia...
If there be no individual soul either in mind or body, where ...
Life In The Concrete
Life in the concrete, which we are living, greatly differs fr...
The Eternal Life As Taught By Professor Munsterberg
Some philosophical pessimists undervalue life simply because ...
Man Is Neither Good-natured Nor Bad-natured According To Su Shih
The difficulty may be avoided by a theory given by Su Shih ...
Personalism Of B P Bowne
B. P. Bowne[FN#204] says: They (phenomena) are not phantoms o...
Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...
Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...
Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...
The Errors Of Philosophical Pessimists And Religious Optimists
Philosophical pessimists[FN#214] maintain that there are on earth
many more causes of pain than of pleasure; and that pain exists
positively, but pleasure is a mere absence of pain because we are
conscious of sickness but not of health; of loss, but not of
possession. On the contrary, religious optimists insist that there
must not be any evil in God's universe, that evil has no independent
nature, but simply denotes a privation of good--that is, evil is
null, is nought, is silence implying sound.'
[FN#214] Schopenhauer, 'The World as Will and Idea' (R. B. Haldane
and J. Kemp's translation, vol. iii., pp. 384-386); Hartman,
'Philosophy of the Unconsciousness' (W. C. Coupland's translation,
vol. iii., pp. 12-119).
No matter what these one-sided observers' opinion may be, we are
certain that we experience good as well as evil, and feel pain and
pleasure as well. Neither can we alleviate the real sufferings of
the sick by telling them that sickness is no other than the absence
of health, nor can we make the poor a whit richer by telling them
that poverty is a mere absence of riches. How could we save the
dying by persuading them that death is a bare privation of life? Is
it possible to dispirit the happy by telling them that happiness is
unreal, or make the fortunate miserable by telling them that fortune
has no objective reality, or to make one welcome evil by telling one
that it is only the absence of good?
You must admit there are no definite external causes of pain nor
those of pleasure, for one and the same thing causes pain at one time
and pleasure at another. A cause of delight to one person turns out
to be that of aversion to another. A dying miser might revive at the
sight of gold, yet a Diogenes would pass without noticing it. Cigars
and wine are blessed gifts of heaven to the intemperate,[FN#215] but
accursed poison to the temperate. Some might enjoy a long life, but
others would heartily desire to curtail it. Some might groan under a
slight indisposition, while others would whistle away a life of
serious disease. An Epicure might be taken prisoner by poverty, yet
an Epictetus would fearlessly face and vanquish him. How, then, do
you distinguish the real cause of pain from that of pleasure? How do
you know the causes of one are more numerous than the causes of the
[FN#215] The author of Han Shu (Kan Sho) calls spirits the gift of
Expose thermometers of several kinds to one and the same temperature.
One will indicate, say, 60°, another as high as 100°, another as low as
15°. Expose the thermometers of human sensibilities, which are of
myriads of different kinds, to one and the same temperature of
environment. None of them will indicate the same degrees. In one
and the same climate, which we think moderate, the Eskimo would be
washed with perspiration, while the Hindu would shudder with cold.
Similarly, under one and the same circumstance some might be
extremely miserable and think it unbearable, yet others would be
contented and happy. Therefore we may safely conclude that there are
no definite external causes of pain and pleasure, and that there must
be internal causes which modify the external.
Next: The Law Of Balance
Previous: Epicureanism And Life